Gave up house-hunting and did some last shopping, and had lunch at Harvey Nicholls. Left by the 4.45. H goes to Newquay on Monday, I am hoping to go there too of course, but it is too expensive. Found Rowley and Michael at home, Char, Georgie, Fred and Esther gone. Evening papers full of remarks of horror, things look worse than ever. Yesterday the house agent at Hampstead was showing us a very small unfurnished flat when Helen said to him “and we have room for Ocky here?”Miss Ocky Beaumon, who is thinking of sharing it with us. The boy said, before I could answer, “There is a hockey ground quite close and some good golf links near,” which amused us a good deal.
On this day in 1914, the Postdam Conference ended, Great Britain mobilised its troops and Russian troops invaded Eastern Prussia. Austria was at war with Serbia and Germany had declared war on Russia the day before.
Went into Rugby with Meriel and things look so very war-like. M picked me up in a car by the school and we went up to the ground. A good many people were there, all talking of nothing else of course but the prospects of war. We heard wonderful remarks, one that we had declared war and there had been a battle, and all sorts of comments, all of which turned out to be wrong. They only played one game as there were so few players, nearly everyone having gone off to rejoin regiments. Saw the Heaths who had Miss Starr with them, who could not get back to Germany of course.
On this day in 1914, Germany declared war on France.
War has not really yet been declared but must be soon, I am sure.
On this day in 1914 Germany invaded Belgium (who was neutral), President Woodrow Wilson of the United States announced that the country would have a policy of neutrality, and Britain finally declared war on Germany.
The Lutterworth Show, Father and Digby went. Old Topham made a welcome speech and they would not have the band, which seems rather absurd. We really are at war with Germany now. I must say it is almost a relief to know the worst after all these years of wondering when it will come. All the same, I hate the thought of it.
Mother heard from the office at Leicester asking if she could undertake to provide 30 beds for wounded soldiers. Rather a large order. Good news in the paper that the Belgians are holding their own while at Liege.
Typed out lists of requirements. Mrs Watson wrote me a note I received about 11 asking me to play in her tournament that afternoon. I said I would, though I did not want to a bit. Had a great meet in the Girls Clubroom of the VG Detachment and a lot of outsiders whom we asked because we thought they might lend things. Everybody was very good and promised all sorts of things. Abbot has offered to lend a Wesleyan Sunday School, which seems to be an ideal place with kitchens and everything complete, and the Grammar School have offered 12 beds. Heaps of people offered bed clothing and to make shirts. I had to keep lists, which was most difficult. Had lunch at the Aldersons and went up to Mrs Watson’s, where I played with Cecil too badly for words. I had a bad headache and was dead to the world. The papers say the Germans have lost 25,000 at Liege and asked for an armistice. I can hardly believe they can have lost so many already.
Felt a most awfully warm and incapable of doing anything. Stayed indoors most of the day and did a little dressmaking. Esther and Fred came home about lunchtime. Fred and Digby spent most of the evening discussing what they should do. I think the chief idea is to join the reserve of Officers, in which case they will serve throughout the war and probably be attached to a regiment and may serve outside the country, whereas the Territorials only serve at home.
Stayed in bed for breakfast but got up later and felt rather better.
Drove over to the Pembertons with Fred, Rowley and Michael. The Clarkes, Belchers and all the Bouchers were there. Alison Boucher is engaged to a Mr Taylor I think his name is. Quite young, a friend of Robin’s at Cambridge. She is a pretty attractive little thing, but Sybil is the most attractive I think. No news much. Mr Pemberton has gone to Warwick with the Yeomanry, he volunteered for foreign service and expects to be sent soon.
Had a working party in the rectory garden and made flannel shirts, a horrible occupation
Did the flowers. Mr Watson and Cecil and two nieces of Mrs Pemberton and John came and played tennis all the afternoon. We had some quite good sets. Fred went into Oxford to see the O.T.C. people there and decided to join Kitchener’s new army, which is just being formed. He passed his medical exam. Tumbled off his bicycle on the way home and hurt his knee.
Had rather an early lunch and then the whole family party except Fred went down to the Darlingtons and played in a tennis tournament which had been hurriedly arranged yesterday. As there were lots of us including Bay, we felt that someone ought to secure a prize somehow. I had Dinks Kittermaster as a partner, Bay Reggie Alderson and Esther Connie’s husband, Mr Griffin, who is a priceless old thing, very fat and talkative and quite amusing. Rowley and Digby played together and Michael and Ronald K Dinks and I began by losing 5 games straight away to Miss Alderson and Dorothy K, so they were so sorry for us that they altered our handicap and gave us off 30 instead of 15. The result was that we immediately began to play much better and finally won as everybody else had to give us points. However, nobody seemed to mind much and I got an umbrella and Dinks a golf club. Went straight on to a lecture on Home Nursing.
On this day in 1914, the Battle of the Frontiers began. This was a series of battles fought in southern Belgium and on the eastern borders of France which resulted in a German victory.
Got up early and went down to the Cottage Hospital with Esther, arriving there about 8.15. Stayed there the whole morning, helping to do all the usual hospital work. There were only two patients, which was unfortunate. One was a poor little Mrs Robinson who looked very ill and had had an operation, and the other was an oldish man who did not seem to have much the matter with him. We gave them their medicines and took their temperatures and felt their pulses etc, and dusted several rooms and watched the nurse bandage a boy’s squashed arm. Found a postcard from Vi saying Robert was much the same and very weak. Stayed indoors most of the afternoon as I was rather tired. Digby went to Oxford for the day and passed his medical examination for Kitchener’s army which he is going to join as well as Fred. Digby told us that Jackson, the greatest runner Oxford has ever had, who won an Olympic games medal race which has seldom if ever been beaten, was rejected by the Medical Board on account of his legs being bad! It is true, I believe, that he has varicose veins and a bad knee and weak heart, but it seems almost as if they might have risked that!
Very warm, went to church. Grace Topham came over in the afternoon.
No entry by Eve
On this day in 1914, Russia began to invade East Prussia.
A hot day. Started to bicycle over to Claybrooke to see CN who is ill, poor old thing, but my bicycle broke down between Bitteswell and the Elms, so I borrowed Mrs Clarke’s, she being out at the time, and went on on that. Found poor old Aunt C looking very ill and weak and in great pain. She has sent for a nurse who I hope will come soon. Went to a first aid lecture on the way home. Baddish news from the war, the Germans seem to be in Belgium.
Played tennis at home. Had a service at 7 o’clock, the same as they’re having everywhere. Had some special prayers and “God Save the King”. Michael in white flannels standing to attention pleased me a great deal. The Germans are over-running the whole of Belgium.
Esther and I went to the Youngs and played tennis there. Mr Clarke, Dr James, Dennise Aldridge and of course Mr and Mrs Hughes were there, besides Mabel and Allan. Had some very good sets and I played a little better than I usually do, however, but not at all well. Went down to the station on the way back to get an evening paper and found Cecil Stocks there, who had been playing cricket at Lutterworth and told me that Fred, who was also playing, had had a wire from a Colonel, Highland Light Infantry, asking him if he would like to join the 3rd Battalion. When I got home I found this was true and that Moore and various other B.N.C. men had also been asked to join. Of course Fred had wired to say “yes”. Very interesting, we suppose he will be wearing a kilt and sporran!
Very hot, went to church twice.
On this day in 1914, Japan declared war on Germany. Additionally, Austria-Hungary began to invade Russian Poland.
Mother went to Leicester.
On this day in 1914 Russia lost the Battle of Tannenberg to Germany.
Esther and Fred went to the Youngs to play tennis and mother and the little boys to the Jarys. Francis Stocks turned up on a motor bicycle for tea and stayed for some time. He was on his way to the new house. F and E came back with a lovely story about 150,000 Russian soldiers having passed through Rugby during the last few days on their way to France or Belgium, presumably the latter. It seems too good to be true. We want some help badly at present, I should say. Cecil Mickalls, who commands the Territorials at Rugby, seems to have told the Youngs and one would think he ought to know.
Bicycled down to Lutterworth to get some bits for Fred, who went off about 10.30 to camp somewhere near Didcot. In the afternoon Digby and I went down to the Darlingtons and played tennis there with the Cave girls and Lucy and “Willow” Darlington and a Mr Fosberry whom I had not seen before. Mr Watson came in later as well. Had some sandwiches there and went on to a Home Nursing lecture.
Very hot. War news is rather bad I think. We seem to be pretty hard pressed in France. Father and Digby played cricket at Lutterworth. Esther and I bicycled down there for tea and saw the end of the match. Lutterworth were beaten in a most idiotic way. A letter came for Fred from the W.O. saying he was to join the 7th Battalion in the Rifle Brigade, instead of the 3rd of the Highland Light Infantry as we thought.
Went to church. Francis S turned up in the afternoon on his motor bicycle and stayed some time. He does not believe the Russian story at all.
Robin arrived looking much the same as usual but thinner. He seems to have had quite a calm and uneventful voyage except that they had to have their lights out the first part of the way.